One of the most common places in which I’ve seen communication fall down is when the communicator assumes that the reason that their message hasn’t been received and embraced is simply not their fault, and more often than not it’s the recipient’s fault.
Let’s take a simple email communication as an example.
There have been many times following a failed email communication when I have heard lines like “I sent the email. I’ve done my bit”.
What this means is that in the sender’s mind, the recipient or recipients have received the email, read the email, understood the email and been motivated to act in accordance with the contents of the email.
As you can see, there are a lot of different assumptions being made here.
They have assumed that each recipient has regular access to the email account that they sent it to.
They have assumed that each recipient hasn’t received 400 emails that day that they’re likely to do a mass delete to.
Even if they have read the email, they have assumed that each recipient understands the message that the writer is trying to communicate.
They are also assuming that each recipient has enough time, resources, and respect for the sender to take the desired action based on what is in the email.
Then, once you’ve thrown internal politics and personal prejudices onto the mix you quickly start to understand that sending an email without conducting all the background work has a pretty high chance of failure.
So, what background work should you do?
It’s really not that hard. It just takes a little bit of forethought.
First and foremost, think about your audience. Think about the person or the people that you are intending to communicate to. If you don’t know them, get to know them. Understand who they are, how they work and what their motivators are.
What you may well find here is that email is not even the best way to communicate to these people. If it is a small group, it could be one on one. If it’s a larger group located in the one place, it might be via a presentation, event or the like.
Depending on who your audience are, you might be better off creating a video, using Snapchat or other social media platforms. Hey, you may even want to do a TikTok video.
Only then should you start creating the content.
Now that you have all of this in mind, start creating the content for your communication piece and crafting your message using the most appropriate language, the right tone and the clearest messaging so in order to give your communications the best chance of success.
Sure, not everything will warrant such an approach.
What you decide on will ultimately depend on how much importance you place on your message being received, communicated, understood, and acted upon in the desired manner.
Received, communicated, understood, acted upon.
Just think about these four things the next time you’re tempted to fire off a quick email without giving it a second thought.
I always love to receive feedback (positive or constructive) on this or any of my posts. Feel free to contact me at any time.